Ave Scores Third Trans-Am Pole of Season at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (May 30, 2009) -- Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., captured his third Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series pole of the season and will lead the field to the green Sunday for the Round Four race, part of the Ohio Valley Region SCCA Race of Champions weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Jorge Diaz Jr., of Puerto Rico, will start second.

Driving the No. 10 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford Mustang, Ave ran a fastest time of 1:22.862 (98.100 mph) around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile track early in the session and, despite a late run by Diaz Jr., held up for the pole. The time was slightly slower than his morning practice time, despite running new tires in the warmer afternoon session.

"The track didn't seem that good to me this afternoon," Ave said. "There was a lot of sand and stuff on it. I don't know if it was the groups before us or us that did that. The car felt good, though. Tires temps looked good. I'm more worried and focused on the race.

"It's a lot of fun to race here. It's even more fun when you can start up front because it's kind of hard to pass."

Ave has been the fastest most of the year in qualifying, but it has yet to translate into a series win.

"We keep finding ways to lose," he said. "Hopefully we don't do that tomorrow. The car is good. I have to thank Denny Lamers for letting me run this car that he bought from my team."

Diaz Jr. was second for the majority of the session in his No. 2 JD Racing Jaguar XKR--but, in the closing minutes of the 25-minute run, he made one more attempt to unseat Ave and score his second-straight pole. Diaz shaved nearly 0.8-second off the gap, but fell 0.229-second short on his final lap--a 1:23.091 (97.830 mph).

Ave's pole netted him five points, breaking the tie atop the Championship with Tomy Drissi. Drissi, of Los Angeles, was third fastest in the session in his No. 5 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Jaguar XKR, with a 1:23.879 (96.911 mph).

Hometown favorite Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio, was fourth fastest in her No. 23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Corp Chevrolet Corvette, with a fastest time of 1:25.291 (95.306 mph). Fellow Rookie Daniel Ramoutarsingh, of Trinidad, was a career-best fifth in his No. 8 Trinico Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR, turning a fastest lap of 1:25.527 (95.043 mph).

Simon Gregg (Corvette), R.J. Lopez (Corvette), Edison Lluch Sr. (Corvette), Pete Mohrhauser (Corvette) and John Schaller (Camaro) completed the top 10.

Sunday's 40-lap, 90.32-mile Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series Round Four race is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:45 p.m. (Eastern). To follow live timing and scoring, please visit www.sccatrans-am.com.

-credit: scca pro racing